Sponsor Workforce and Utilization Analyses

  1. What analyses are required by the final rule?

    The rule requires conducting two analyses and then comparing those analyses to each other. Both of these analyses were required under the previous rule. However, the new rule, at §30.5, streamlines and provides greater clarity as to how sponsors, working with Registration Agencies, can complete these analyses.

    First, each sponsor will conduct a workforce analysis. The workforce analysis simply identifies the racial, sex, and ethnic composition of its apprenticeship workforce (this step also needs to be conducted to identify the apprentices and applicants in each program with disabilities). Second, each sponsor, with assistance from the Registration Agency, will conduct an availability analysis. The purpose of the availability analysis is to determine the racial, sex, and ethnic representation of individuals available in the relevant recruitment area. This analysis will result in an availability figure for each major occupation group represented in the sponsor's program.

    Finally, each sponsor, again working with the Registration Agency, will compare these two analyses: the racial, sex, and ethnic representation of its apprenticeship workforce to the racial, sex, and ethnic representation of people available in the relevant recruitment area. If this comparison shows that the sponsor is underutilized in any particular group, the sponsor must then establish utilization goals and engage in targeted outreach, recruitment, and retention activities.

  2. Should a sponsor include journeyworkers in its analyses?

    Generally, no it should not. If journeyworkers are eligible for enrollment in the apprenticeship program, those workers should be included within the sponsor's availability analysis. But currently employed journeyworkers should not be included in the sponsor's workforce analysis.

  3. Where the sponsor is a community college or business association that places apprentices with participating employers, what data should be included in the AAP – the sponsor's apprentice workforce data or the participating employers' data?

    The workforce that should be analyzed for the AAP is the sponsor's apprentice workforce –whether those apprentices are employed by the sponsor or by participating employers.

  4. How can a sponsor determine the availability of qualified individuals within its recruitment area?

    The availability analysis looks at the racial, sex, and ethnic breakdown of these available individuals. Individuals are considered available if they meet the basic qualifications for enrollment in the apprenticeship program. Registration Agencies work closely with each sponsor at its regular compliance reviews to develop and conduct an availability analysis.

    The final rule has streamlined the availability analysis by reducing the number of factors each sponsor must take into account (§30.5[6(d)]). Previously, sponsors had to look at five different factors to determine availability. Now, sponsors only need to look at two factors for each major occupation group in its apprenticeship program:

    1. The percentage of individuals who are eligible for enrollment in the apprenticeship program within the sponsor's relevant recruitment area - broken down by race, sex, and ethnicity; and
    2. The percentage of the sponsor's employees who are eligible for enrollment in the apprenticeship program - broken down by race, sex, and ethnicity.

  5. Will the Registration Agency provide assistance in conducting these analyses?

    Yes. The Registration Agency will provide significant technical assistance during compliance reviews to help sponsors conduct their availability and utilization analyses.

    For new sponsors, the Registration Agency will also provide further guidance on the AAP requirements more broadly during the program's provisional review conducted within one year of registration.

  6. Why do sponsors who develop AAPs have to analyze their apprenticeship workforces twice: first, in the workforce analysis, by occupational title; and second, in the utilization analysis by major occupational group?

    The rule provides for utilization analyses by major occupational group to provide a larger data set for comparing to the availability data and deciding whether or not goals need to be established. For many programs, a utilization analysis at the occupational title level would not be very helpful, because there are not many apprentices within each occupation.

    The regulations require use of the more granular occupational title data when sponsors perform internal analyses of their workforces, such as during their annual reviews of personnel practices. Having data broken down by occupational title allows sponsors to review their apprentice workforces at a deeper level that could be overlooked when combined in the utilization analysis.

  7. At what point does a sponsor have to establish a utilization goal for race, sex, or ethnicity?

    A sponsor is "underutilized" when the percentage of women, Hispanics or Latinos, or individuals of a particular racial minority group in the sponsor's program is significantly less than would be reasonably expected given the availability of such individuals for apprenticeship. If the sponsor finds that its program's percentage of apprentices of a particular race, sex, or ethnicity falls significantly below that group's availability in the relevant recruitment area, it must establish a utilization goal.

  8. How can a sponsor know if it is meeting its utilization goals?

    Sponsors will work with the Registration Agency at each compliance review to establish or review utilization goals. Sponsors then compare their workforce analyses to the goals to determine if they are meeting their goals.

  9. What happens during an EEO compliance review?

    An EEO compliance review may consist of, but is not limited to, comprehensive analyses and evaluations of each aspect of the apprenticeship program through off-site reviews, such as desk audits of records submitted to the Registration Agency, and on-site reviews conducted at the sponsor's establishment that may involve examination of records, inspection and copying of documents, and interviews with employees, apprentices, journeyworkers, supervisors, managers, and hiring officials.

  10. What happens if an apprenticeship program doesn't reach its utilization goals?

    If the Registration Agency determines that a sponsor is not meeting its goals, the Registration Agency will work with that sponsor to identify potential problem areas in the program and devise corrective, action-oriented programs, and the sponsor will engage in more targeted outreach, recruitment, and retention activities in order to try to correct any impediments to equal opportunity in the apprenticeship program.

    Failure to meet utilization goals will not, in and of itself, result in any enforcement actions or sanctions. A sponsor's compliance with the final rule will be determined based upon the sponsor's good faith efforts to eliminate impediments to equal employment opportunity and not purely on whether it has met its goals. The Registration Agency will look at the totality of the sponsor's affirmative action efforts to determine whether it is in compliance with its affirmative action obligations.

  11. Are utilization goals the same thing as quotas?

    No. Utilization goals are not rigid and inflexible quotas and they do not establish a ceiling or a floor for the utilization of a particular group. Similarly, the final rule provides that a sponsor cannot use its utilization goals as a way to extend a preference to any individual on the basis of that person's race, sex, or ethnicity, nor can the sponsor create set-asides for specific groups. The application of utilization goals does not require sponsors to select a person who lacks qualifications to participate in the apprenticeship program successfully, or to select a less-qualified person in preference to a more qualified one.

  12. Will the Registration Agency provide me with technical assistance if my program needs to implement a compliance action plan?

    Yes. In the Notice of Compliance Review Findings, the Registration Agency will identify any deficiencies, how those deficiencies could be remedied, and the timeframe for remedying the deficiencies. Additionally, the Registration Agency, in keeping with current practice, will provide technical assistance to sponsors with deficiencies on how they may come into compliance.

  13. What happens if a sponsor fails to implement a corrective action plan?

    If a sponsor is found to not be in compliance, they may be required to implement a corrective action plan. If they fail to implement that corrective action plan, the Registration Agency can take a number of steps. First, the Registration Agency may offer the sponsor technical assistance to promote compliance.

    If the sponsor still does not come into compliance, the Registration Agency may suspend the sponsor's right to register new apprentices. The Registration Agency can seek to do this if the sponsor fails to implement a compliance action plan within 30 business days from the date the sponsor is notified of the violation(s) or within 30 days of receiving the Registration Agency's notice upholding its initial noncompliance findings. The final rule includes a suspension provision as a way to give Registration Agencies some flexibility in working with sponsors who are not in compliance. It was not intended as a punitive option, but an intermediate step that Registration Agencies could take rather than moving immediately into deregistration proceedings.